Thursday, October 29, 2009

lily was my inspiration

well, at least i can rest well tonight knowing i did the honest thing. i was on day one of my shopping today, thought i'd swing by rite-aid (at which i rarely shop) real quick, grab the few things i wanted, and head on to store number 3. it turned out to not be real quick, but rather real pain. had i not had a coupon to get $4 off a $20 purchase, i probably wouldn't have caught the mistake by the cashier. my bill was too low, but i couldn't quite figure out why. i told the employee that something must not be right b/c the total was too low for me to use my coupon. i couldn't have been off by that much in my calculations. i put the coupon back, paid for my things, and started out for the car. before leaving, i pulled out the receipt to see why i'd done so well. i spotted almost immediately that my most expensive item had not been rung up yet the coupon getting $2 off had. not only had i not paid for the item, i actually got paid $2 for it! i sighed b/c i knew i had to do the right thing, and the right thing would probably not be easy. lo and behold...it took over 20 minutes to get it straightened out. i'm sure there had to be a better way, and about halfway through the correction, i think we were all wishing i had just kept on driving. it cost me an extra $7, too, but i guess that's ok.

i know i did what was right. i wouldn't have been ok knowing that i had taken advantage of someone else's mistake. it reminded me of what my daughter lily had done a few months ago. she had gotten under-charged at wal-mart. she made me go the next day and fix the problem. i must confess. i was not happy about that one. it was just a dollar or so, and it just didn't feel worth it. i'm sure at some point i'd gotten over-charged at wal-mart so i figured it would even out in the end. however, that was not the point. i couldn't in good conscience let lily down. this could have been a defining moment for her. i've always tried to be a good role model for my kids, so this couldn't be ignored. i was so proud of her honesty and integrity. i think her example inspired me to do the right thing today. it took a lot of time and a few bucks, but it puts a smile on my face. i know, too, that GOD rewards us in other ways when we take the right path rather than the convenient one. thanks, lily, you're an inspiration.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

trust: freely given or earned?

i read a blog this morning in which the blogger stated that she thought trust should be freely given not necessarily earned. i think i know what she was trying to say, but i'm not fully agreeing with it. i don't think you should not trust EVERYONE just because ONE person hurt you, but..."shrewd as a snake, harmless as a dove." i guess i'm thinking that you can give trust to others, but sometimes situations arise in which trust must be earned or re-earned. i think you can bless people without trusting them. perhaps? just processing.



one commenter said that she punishes others by withholding trust. i can see that happening sometimes, but i don't think that is always the case. i do believe that i have to live my life with my heart out in the open. i live a vulnerable, transparent life. my heart will get trampled on and wounded from time to time, but it's better to care and be honest and risk getting hurt than to be cold, distant and hardened. that means i do have a level of trust that i give, but i think i'm a little cautious in general due to my past experiences. i'm sure that's both bad and good at times.



so should trust be freely given or earned or a little of both? i think i'll be giving that more thought.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

crossed a name off my list

i pulled up my "need to forgive" list this morning. to my surprise, i didn't have the anger or anxiety that i usually do when i see that list. i wasn't even snarky! i hope that's a good sign and not just a hormonal thing going on. and yes, hormones can produce good, happy feelings.

the person at the top of my list has been there for a few years. a couple of days ago, i was praying about that situation while i was doing laundry. now usually when GOD tells me to bless someone, i have to give it some time. GOD and i usually go back and forth on the issue, and eventually i surrender. not this time. i said ok, and i prayed a prayer of blessing over him and his church. i did have to get some things straight with GOD just so we were clear. forgiveness is one thing, but trust is another. it could take years for me to trust this guy again, if ever. however, i'm willing to forgive his multiple offenses against me, my family and our ministry.

here's how i figure it: only GOD really knows if he's changed. i'm not convinced, but i'm willing to sit back and wait it out. time will tell. if he has changed, then great. i'll be happy. if not, i won't be surprised, and i'll be there to help pick up the pieces this guy leaves in his wake. i hope he has dealt with those issues that caused him to do what he did to us. and i hope no one does to him what he did to us and others in ministry.

so i blessed him. i prayed that GOD would strengthen his character and help him be both spiritually and emotionally healthy. i prayed that his change is indeed genuine. i prayed for his church. i prayed he'd be a good pastor and that he'd take care of his congregation. i prayed he and his leaders would have wisdom and truth to guide them in their decisions. i prayed that GOD would bless their efforts to reach their community.

i feel good about it. he becomes the first to be deleted from the list this time around. i'm sure it's about time! now on to the next...

Friday, October 23, 2009

day one of facing the list

ok. started on that list today. i had some updating to do. that was tough...and enough for today. i added about half a page of situations/people i need to forgive. this is tough stuff. i'm now down to the specific issues i need to work through. oooh, i'm so agitated. those that were already on it...still not ready to cross them off. one may be really close though, so at least there's one positive thing about today's look at the list.

i wish i could say this has gotten easier, that forgiving has gotten down to an easy science. unfortunately, that's not the case. i wish i could say this list will shrink quickly, but i don't think it's gonna. when i look at it, i realize that these are really deep wounds. and most of these will not end in an apology. it's difficult for me to forgive knowing i will never hear the words, "i'm sorry." those 2 words are so under-utilized these days.

this list really makes me angry. it makes me hurt. that's why i don't like being tied to it. i didn't realize just how much journaling and prayer this was going to take. might as well start this with a prayer.

GOD, as i look at this list, i know it's not gonna be easy. i'm really gonna need some help. i believe i'll forgive each and every one, but i can't do it on my own strength. i am very aware of this. honestly, i want vindication. can't lie about that. help me understand that forgiveness doesn't make what they did all right, but it makes me all right and sets me free. this is for me. i can't change what happened. i can't change anyone but me. right now, i could use a little peace in my heart. please take away this agitation. i've got too much to do today to be upset. i'm taking the first step. that's good. at least this time, i'm willing to go there rather than keep it hidden and buried deep inside. thank you for who i'm going to be as a result of dealing with this list.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

feeling strong enough to "go there"

i've been feeling a little rough these last couple of days. i've been battling sickness, and i do believe i won. yay! sickness isn't the only thing i've battled. i'm working through some would-be bitterness. i think i'm kicking butt on that one, too.

for me, at least, the hardest part to work through is the tail-end of a situation. the big stuff is usually a little easier. it's the wanting to understand why rather than the offense itself that's so difficult to resolve in my heart and mind. my mind accepts more readily than my heart, and since i'm a feeler more than a thinker, the heart carries more weight with me.

i've talked a lot about my list of people i need to forgive. so i'm going to revisit that list this week. i think it's time. i feel strong enough to "go there." i don't like feeling this hardness of anger and unforgiveness in my chest. it bothers me. i like to enjoy life, and that hardness weighs me down.

so, list, here i come! prepare to shrink! =)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

it's time the church do some self-assessment

i was reading the blog of my friend, chris maxwell, this morning. it's an interview with gary moon, an author and christian psychologist, who has written a new book. i wanted to share a question that chris posed and gary's very wise and timely response. to read the article in full, click on the link at the bottom. also included is the info on where to purchase gary's new book.

this is why i wanted to share this: i believe it would be wise for the church (in general) to do some fearless, honest self-assessment. i was actually thinking that myself this morning. have you read any religious articles recently from mainstream media? or better yet, the comments from readers? the "world" doesn't view the church in a good light. the good news is that this negative view is not so much about GOD. unfortunately, it's more about the people within the church. we've earned that poor reputation by our attitudes and actions. it's time the church step out of its bubble and see what the negative vibes are all about. we may be surprised. time to ask the tough questions? yeah, i think so. it may be time to rebuild on the solid foundation.

chris: How can local churches in our culture begin grasping the truth about Apprenticeship?

gary: Dallas Willard has said that the two biggest obstacles to authentic transformation are: 1) caring too much about the opinions of others; and 2) caring too much about money. Along those lines, I think the first thing a local church would need to do is a fearless self-assessment, asking the tough questions, have we come to care too much about our reputation and about money. What I'm trying to say is that it is very important to get first things, first, to build on a solid foundation. An apprenticeship model cannot work if the foundation of a church or a person is sand, instead of solid ground. After that, and at the risk of seeming redundant, I think spiritual transformation is a matter of vision, intention and means.

http://www.chrismaxwellweb.com/blog/2009/10/apprenticeship-conversation-with-gary.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Apprenticeship-Jesus-Learning-Live-Master/dp/080106841X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254596961&sr=8-1

Monday, October 19, 2009

laughter...=)

laughter does the heart good. i had a great time last week visiting with some good friends. david had to work, but i went so i could hang out. i had planned to work on some ministry stuff, but instead, i found myself enjoying the company of others.

the interesting thing is that a lot of us have experienced some difficult times recently. we talked, hugged, and cried a little, but then we somehow got caught up in laughter. in the cheerfulness and company of friends, we just laughed about everything and nothing at all. and it felt good...and right.

it just got me thinking how i'm not sure i've ever thanked GOD for laughter. laughter allows me to set aside my cares. it reminds me that there is still so much good left in the world. laughter and friends are 2 of GOD's greatest creations. thanks, GOD, i'll try to remember to laugh more often.

Friday, October 16, 2009

the power of empathy

i've had a few people in ministry asking me these last couple of days about my leaving a ministry position. i have to admit. it's hard to talk about it. it stings a little, especially since i can't seem to make sense of it all. i'm honest about it, and they all understand. they've been there before, too. what touches me and never ceases to ease my heart is their concern that i give myself time to heal. that and the fact that they look so compassionate as they listen to my story. sometimes, they share their own. we often end up encouraging each other because we've all been there. we know how it feels. but because we're in the business of loving and serving people, we have to learn to let go so we can move forward with GOD's will for our lives. we don't want to fill our lives with such bitterness so as to miss all the good that is around us. and there's a lot of that.

galatians 6:2 says, "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." empathy is a powerful emotion. it's one of the things that makes us human. the ability to feel another's pain and share it with them does wonders for a person in need of healing. empathy validates and let's people know they are not alone, that they are loved and special. i want to make others feel that way. empathy is not shallow and is not satisfied with giving empty, religious platitudes. empathy is deep and real.

i think the world could use a few more empathetic people. people who seek to understand and who share the joys and sorrows of those whose paths they cross. if we all showed a little more compassion to others, if we put the needs of others ahead of our own desires, if we treated each other with respect, what a world this would be.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

a thicker skin?

all this week, i've been struggling and trying to work through something. i hate feeling misunderstood. i hate people saying things that aren't true about me or making incorrect assumptions about me. i hate that i care too much what other people think about me.

i probably need to have a thicker skin, but my sensitivity is one of the things that has made me a good worship leader and minister. it's tough. i'd be lying to myself if i just glossed over it and said it doesn't hurt. it does.

a wise friend gave me some advice when i asked him about how to develop a thicker skin. he said that it's better to care and get hurt than to have a bitter and cold heart. he said that talking it out with a trusted person is helpful. another wise person told me that you have to learn to walk in forgiveness. i try. i really do. i can usually forgive an offense...eventually. it's the residual stuff that gets me.

i can honestly say that i'm doing the best i can. it's not as hard this time, but it stings nonetheless. my friend is right though. it's better to hurt and care. bitterness is one thing i never want to experience again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

on being an outsider

i've heard it said that people are like lego blocks...each of us has only a set number of connections. if you're a newbie, an outsider, you arrive at your new home as a lego with openings, and you wait patiently for an opening on someone else's lego, keeping in mind that you could be replaced by a former connection if ever they choose to return.

i wanted to put into words my feelings on being an outsider, but last night, i read an exchange on facebook that started with a pastor's daughter sharing her own heart on how it feels to be an outsider. i think this says it better than i ever could. with their permission, i have reposted the conversation.


ali:
So I've moved a lot, I mean, I've been to 8 different schools. It's like when you finally feel like you fit in, something happens and you realize that no matter how close you think a friendship is, it's not as close as you think. ...They have lived here all their life. They have had these friends since 6th grade. No matter how many friends I have it's made very clear. I'm still the outsider.


emily:
...what's great is that you'll always have a love and a heart for the outsider. You'll be able to make friends with anyone. You'll see past people's outward and see their insides. Its hard baby, but in the end, you'll be the strong one...You'll make it. And in the end, you'll be the strongest, sweetest, loveliest, most Godly one of all.

to say anything else would just be vanity. all i know is that i had to share this because it touched my heart. thanks, ali, for your honesty. and thank you, emily, for your kind and encouraging words. i couldn't have said it any better.

Monday, October 12, 2009

just b/c we can, doesn't mean we should

i was told recently that my moral standards aren't the same as those of other people. i can't argue with that. it is, after all, a true statement. after 35 years, i've come to some conclusions about what i consider to be right, what i consider to be wrong and also what i consider to be a gray area or personal conviction.


just because we have the right to do something, doesn't mean it's right to do it. some things may not be wrong, but they are less than ideal. as a minister, mom and worship leader, i try to keep that in mind. i don't want to be a stumbling block to others. i don't want my choices to confuse others. i want to set a good example. i want what i do to point to CHRIST.


GOD, help me do what is right, run from what is wrong, and listen to your voice for those things that may or may not be wrong. i want my life to bring you glory and honor. keep me from disgracing you with my thoughts, my attitude and my actions. help me remember that it's not all about me, but it's about all that transcends me. help me do this with humility and fearlessness.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

generosity makes everyone feel good!

ThomRainer From @MikeGlenn sermon: Local restaurant owner has trouble getting workers on Sun bec Christians tip the least & act the rudest



ok. before anyone thinks i am generalizing about all christians, stop. don't go there. i'm not. this was one guy's experience. but when i read this, i thought...what a shame that people think this. sometimes, i think they have good reason, but we're not all difficult and cheap.

christians should be the most generous of all people. that's how it was in the early church. people sold what they had and shared it with those who didn't. that's how it should be now.

just an example...last night, i attended a class on coupons at a local church (another blog to come about that). the woman who led the class asked for no compensation. she does this for free out of the goodness of her heart. in order to bless her for her time, effort and expertise, we took up a love offering for her. the woman who organized the class asked us all to give a dollar each. i realized i had more, so i gave more. i thought...what would i like to receive? that question compelled me to give more. i received many blessings last night. it was very much worth it. and this morning? i woke up happy that i gave a little more. generosity just makes you feel good. generosity makes everyone feel good!

got a little extra? even in this economy, we can still give. and even if there's no money to be given, we still have love and kindness. let's be the most generous people. let's change the mind of this restaurant staff...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

bless and curse not

romans 12:14 -- bless those who persecute you. don't curse them; pray that GOD will bless them.

somewhere along my journey to wholeness, i came across this verse. i saw something i'd never noticed before: we're told twice to bless. once to not curse.

i pondered it for quite a while and realized that it was so much easier to not curse than it was to bless. but it's twice as important for us to take that extra step of blessing or praying GOD's blessings on those who have persecuted or mistreated or misunderstood us.

we've all heard that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. but the bible tells us to take that a step further...bless them. you know you've forgiven when you can do more than just not curse. if you can then bless them, that's major! at least in my experience.

how do you know if you've forgiven?

how do you know you've forgiven someone? i ask myself that question a lot. periodically, i make a list of those who have offended or hurt me so that i can work towards forgiving them and freeing myself emotionally from the pain. over the years, there have been a few names or situations that have lingered on that list. despite all the praying and journaling and tears, i am just not sure if i've forgiven them, so they remain on the list until i'm sure.

it may sound silly, but i often ask myself this: if i were shopping in wal-mart (or wherever) and turned around and saw (insert name), how would i respond? would i be angry, upset, bothered, and perhaps avoid eye contact? or would i be calm, respectful, and maintain eye contact? if i can't in good conscience say the latter, then it's time to revisit the situation...as often as it takes. i tend to wear my heart on my sleeve so i can't fake it.

i may have to forgive someone multiple times for one offense, but i learned that's ok, too. i sometimes wonder if the biblical teaching of forgiving 70 x 7 means per person or per offense. =)

Friday, October 9, 2009

my thoughts about church and having the courage to change

the last couple of weeks, my family has had church at home. i know it sounds really strange in this day and time to do that, but it's not a radical idea. it's how the church got started to begin with. we've been teaching our kids about the early church in the book of acts. early christians met in homes. they ate together, they worshiped together, they learned together, and they took care of each other.



i've had a number of invitations to church. it's kind of funny. people think we don't go to church anymore. quite the contrary. there's a move today to go back to the new testament model of home churches. it's not that we don't go to church. we do. it's just a little different than what we've grown accustomed to.



somewhere along the way, we lost touch with what church is really about. church is about the people rather than the building. it's about reaching out to a world of people and showing them JESUS in the way we walk, talk, live and give. it's not about pleasing people inside the church. it's about us living a life that pleases GOD.



i think i've had enough of church politics and powerful personalities for a while. i've seen enough of the dark side. i have always been a champion for church. i've been the first to say that though it has its flaws, it's still the best thing. but now i wonder. i think it's time for us to really examine the church. it has to be more than just a social hour. it has to be a place where we are challenged and changed, not a place where we demand our needs for comfort be met.



GOD, show me what it's really all about. i want more. i want to be challenged. i don't want to hide any longer inside the walls of the church building. i want to make a real difference in the world around me. i want to know what the gospel is about in its purest form. i know that this will require much from me. i know this will cost me. so please impart courage to my heart and make it fearless. give me the grace i need to do your will. it's time for me to step out of the boat and onto the water where you are. i'm scared. help me do it anyway.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

LORD, you get me! you sooo get me!

life is full of challenges. that's a fact. whether we ask for it or not, we will face them. i'm in the process of recovering from a challenge, one that i feel i handled well. nonetheless, it wipes me out both physically and emotionally and sometimes leaves me a little depressed.


i found GOD to be really sweet and attentive to me yesterday. i was washing the dishes and listening to pandora radio. check it out if you haven't already. good stuff. anyway, at the time, i'm feeling a little down. one by one, these incredibly uplifting songs by these incredibly gifted female singers get radio play. by the 4th song, i'm feeling like a little girl dancing around on GOD's feet. what a sweet feeling. i love feeling like a little girl in the arms of my great big PAPA GOD. songs like "beauty from pain" by superchick and "you get me" by zoegirl washed over my rundown spirit and gave me hope and a smile.


i love those GOD moments, those times when it feels like GOD takes an extra-special interest in you and hand-crafts each song, each word, each moment to let you know just how loved you really are. that's my GOD, and i love him. thanks, GOD, for our little moment yesterday. you soooo get me!

wearing pink today

cancer strikes again. this time it's a friend from times past...angie sanders. she's having surgery today, scheduled for 9:30 am. she's the reason i'm in pink today.

all who read this, please send up a prayer for her. here's mine:

dear GOD in heaven, i thank you for who you are and all that you do. i am grateful that you are a GOD who heals, and i'm asking you to do just that for angie. heal her body, keep her mind and spirit strong, and give her peace as she undergoes surgery this morning. give insight to her medical staff. guide their hands. be with them as they care for angie. bring peace, strength and comfort to her family and friends. thanks, GOD! i know we can count on you to do this and even more. amen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

maturity is overrated according to my daughter

maturity is overrated. don't believe me? just ask my 11-year-old daughter. we had an interesting conversation friday afternoon when i picked her up early from school. she informed me that she was in the immature 6th grade class. she said everyone always talks about how much more mature the other class is. apparently, she's given this a lot of thought. her response? whatever...at least we'll live longer and be happy. i may have to agree with her on that.

katy's a bright young lady who has really begun to shine in recent years. when she was younger, she had a speech problem, a lateral lisp, which made her actually sound german in the way she pronounced some of her words. i would have killed for that lisp when i had a quarter of german diction in college. =) it left her feeling insecure, shy, sensitive and extremely quiet. but she's got a little of her momma's spunk in her. one day, a kid was making fun of the way she talked. i was in another room but i clearly heard her say that there was nothing wrong with her. she's just different. and she wore that with a confidence that i quickly admired. good for her!

katy has since gotten speech therapy, and she hasn't stopped talking. the transformation was astounding! she's now a bubbly, athletic, outgoing, kind-hearted little lady who has grown in confidence. and she's fine with being considered immature. she told me the story because she knew i'd understand. i get accused of being immature and too young to understand and i'm 35! at least i'm happy. so is my daughter.

don't take life too seriously. do the dizzies with a 3-year-old. go play in the rain. laugh at a stupid joke. do something crazy. do an activity that you know you're terrible at but you enjoy nonetheless. life is too short. it's not all about the destination. it's about the journey. might as well enjoy it. it's the only one you got. thanks, katy, for your 11-year-old wisdom!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

taking the high road

i find myself at a crossroads. one road goes up. the other road goes down. i know the significance of the roads. i will either choose to go up and take the proverbial high road, or i will take the low road...and well, we all know what that means.

i read in a book recently in which the author said that you will never regret taking the high road. and i know he's right. he's been around a lot longer than i, and i'm sure he has more experiences than i. i know that i will choose the high road, but then there's this one part that wants to lash out, to get revenge and be on the low road. i've avoided that road thus far. i've treated everyone with respect. it cost me, too. the high road is not without its toll. you pay dearly to take it, but i'm sure you don't pay nearly as much in the long run with the high road as you do in taking the low road.

at least i know that i've followed biblical principles like i find in romans 12:18: "if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with everyone." i've done the best i could. i have peace, and i can move forward with what GOD has for me to do.

according to philippians 4, GOD's peace guards our hearts and minds. and that's a good thing because i know that if i try to guard my own heart, it becomes hardened with hatred and bitterness. i will eventually be closed off from GOD and people, but if i let GOD's peace guard my heart and mind, he'll keep it safe and soft.

GOD, guard my heart and my mind. keep me soft and loving and caring. protect me from bitterness. take my hand and guide me toward the high road. it is closer to you, and that's where i desire to be.


Friday, October 2, 2009

what he did right

What He Did Right…
From the Mom’s Point of View

As usual, our date was lasting longer than it should. I was sure my mother was about to flash the front door lights to warn me that I needed to come inside. I sat on the hood of David’s gray ’95 Ford Mustang with T-tops. He stood in front of me with his hands around my tiny waist as we talked about our future plans together. We discussed everything from past loves to children. I had no doubt David would be a great father, but I wasn’t sure he knew it.

David never really knew his father. He left the family when David was a very young child. Though he talked very little about it and seemed to not be affected by it, I realized one day about the time we were expecting our first child that David was haunted by a recurring thought. His eyes were moist as he posed the questions, “What if I can’t handle being a father? What if I want to leave, too?” There were so many qualities I admired about my husband, loyalty being among them. I knew he could never leave. David confronted his demons that day. I’ve never heard those questions since.

We’ve been married now for 18 years and have four amazing children. Those early years were tough. I was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids under the age of 5. I never could have gotten through those sleep-deprived years without such a loyal, involved, loving father to my children. I treasured our date nights and those evenings when he’d watch the kids so I could meet up with a friend at the coffee house or the mall. He took our two little boys to watch high school football games on Friday nights so I could catch up on housework or enjoy the company of a friend, and he’d get up occasionally with the babies in the middle of the night so I could get the rest I needed to make it through the next day. Those little acts of selflessness kept me sane.

As our kids got old enough to play sports, David became more than their dad. He became their coach. Not only did he teach our kids the skills necessary for the sports they played, but he taught them teamwork and sportsmanship. He demonstrated his selflessness and loyalty once again by giving up some of his own recreational activities, including his beloved softball. He says it’s because he was getting too old to play, but I know he wouldn’t have missed this time in his children’s lives for anything.

Our kids are all in middle school and high school now. After years of arranging his schedule around a game or a recital, and after a career change and a move so our kids could get a better education, David continues to be a shining example of what a father should be. Our family is entering a new season of life together. As our kids approach dating age, David has resumed his dating life, too, with the mother of his children. And in so doing, our boys are learning to be respectful young men and our daughters are learning what they should expect from future boyfriends.

I was right all along. David has been a great father from day one. He overcame his doubts and fears about fatherhood and has been an inspiration for other men desiring to be great fathers themselves. He couldn’t change his past. He couldn’t trade in the hand he’d been dealt. But he made decisions each day to be the best he could be. After years of good decisions, David can be proud of the man, the husband and the father he’s become.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

humbly grateful or grumbly hateful?

a few years ago, david spent a few days at a monastery with a group of colleagues. one of the things he said was absolutely prohibited and not tolerated at the monastery was grumbling. now i think i understand why. grumbling changes people. it changes those people who do it, it changes those people who listen to it, it changes those people who are victims of it. even if one doesn't participate in it actively, they become passively involved when they give ear to it which leads to their active participation the more they're around it. they start viewing everything through the filter of the grumbling.

why is it that we are so willing to listen to a lie but not the truth? why is it that we would rather believe what we hear from a grumbler than believe what we see from the one being grumbled about? grumbling destroys people and ministries and relationships. it's a dangerous thing.

i was told as a child that if you aren't the one talking about someone but you listen, you're just as guilty as the one doing the talking. i was told to try to stop it or walk away from it.

the Bible says that we should deal with people honestly, that we should look out for others, that we should love and respect each other. if you have a problem with someone, you should try to work it out. romans 12:18 says, "if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with others." there's no peace in grumbling.

we have a choice... humbly grateful or grumbly hateful. what will we choose today?